From Designed to Built, Part 2: Three Questions

first_imgSo now it’s time to get the builder involved in your green project. In Part One of this episode, we shared the views of the design team; but what do the builders think? How would they like to get involved? To find out, Phil and I asked three prominent builders to join us in a a round of “Three Questions.” Let’s meet our contestants. Michael Chandler is a contributor here on GBA and is the president of Chandler Design-Build. He has been designing and building high-performance homes since 1978.Paul Eldrenkamp is the owner of Byggmeister Design Build in Boston. Established in 1983, his company places a high value on the customer relationship and sustainable design / build methods.Dan Kolbert is the owner of Kolbert Building in Portland, Maine, where, for over twenty years, he has been moving his company and the market toward sustainable construction.Phil and I both really appreciate their participation and want to convey our thanks. Are you ready to play? Come on down!The transcript below includes the answers provided by Chandler, Eldrenkamp, and Kolbert. To hear our reactions to their answers, be sure to listen to the Podcast. PODCAST:From Designed to Built: Delivering Your Green HomeIntegrated DesignThinning the Herd: How to Pick the Best Eco-Builder RELATED CONTENT Kolbert: I think either the architect gets to the concept, or the contractor gets to some rough parameters (size, budget, basic design), and then it’s time to bring in the other party. This is especially important in green projects because:If “green” means energy efficient, critical details have to be thought out carefully, and there can be design or construction details that the builder or architect needs to think through from the start.Also, the builder needs to be on board for these details, and the best way to do that is to have the builder be part of the team that develops them.If “green” means products, they have to be products (everything from doors and windows to paints and caulks) that the contractor is comfortable using and the architect is comfortable with the look of.In general, this is a much better way to make sure the design and construction align and come in on budget.Eldrenkamp: I think the relationship should start as early in the project planning process as can be arranged; if it’s a green project, I think it’s all the more important to do so.I think it’s very difficult to achieve the key green characteristics of long-term durability and resource efficiency by trying to specify them in the construction documents. Regardless of what’s in the specs, the construction team needs to understand and buy into those goals from the very beginning, and it’s going to be easier to get that understanding and buy-in if the builder is involved in the process from very early on. I also think it’s a mistake not to take advantage of the builder’s experience and expertise from the very beginning.In my 30 years in construction, I have learned from a lot of mistakes — many of which the architect at the table has yet to make (I am proud to say). I can help the team avoid those mistakes if I have opportunity to provide input from the beginning, before too many design ideas have become entrenched in the plans. Three Questions1) In a perfect world, how and when, should the builder/owner/architect relationship start, and is it any different for a “green” project than a “typical” project?Chandler: Preferably the builder and architect would have a preexisting relationship from having built several homes together in a collaborative relationship.The builder should be brought in to run a preliminary estimate as soon as the preliminary space planning and concept drawings are done and before the working drawings have been started. With a green project, the main difference is the documentation of the collaboration and input from all team partners as part of the green certification process.It’s also helpful to identify green best practices that are already standard for the builder so that unfamiliar green practices can be elaborated on the plans, specs, and tear sheets. Bonus question: On a scale of 9-10, how much more awesome is it to work on a project that has an architect than on one that doesn’t?Chandler: I’m married to my architect, so clearly that’s a ten plus. (Love the scale, though).Kolbert: If you guys don’t know why architects suck by now, I can’t help you out. 🙂Eldrenkamp: I would say a 10. Because if there’s no official architect, then either I’m the de facto architect, which would be a real laugh riot, or the client is the de facto architect, which would not be a real laugh riot.center_img 2) As the project continues, how should this relationship evolve or be maintained? And is it any different for a “green” project than a “typical” project?Chandler: As the project continues there will inevitably be minor changes in the plans and specs. It is critical to have updated plans on site and online that reflect these changes.It is also helpful for the designer and builder to share information on what elements of the project went smoothly — or not (reliability of internet suppliers, new product assessment) — and where more information on the plans might be helpful (reverse lapping stucco lath, mid-set window details, etc.).Kolbert: This needs to be thought about carefully. The continued involvement of the designer should be largely devoted to making sure that green goals are being met or improved.Just as a contractor is mostly serving a support role during the design, the architect needs to be in a support role during construction: helping to think through construction details, helping to resolve contradictions or conflicts that may be discovered, etc.Design changes after construction starts often can come at the expense of efficiency goals (and that, by the way, is bad). I don’t think this is dramatically different in green or non-green projects; it’s a challenge on all projects.Eldrenkamp: Regardless of whether the project is green (and just why are we making that optional? haven’t we all learned that “typical” doesn’t work?), I think there should be consensus on what the project goals, budget, and schedule are.I think that if someone on the team sees a problem with achieving any of those objectives at any point, they should say something right away. The client should not be in charge of the project; if the client is in charge of the project, the project is almost certainly doomed.If the architect wants to be in charge, then the architect should be organized, responsible, and realistic — should really be in charge, in other words. Sometimes the contractor should be in charge, though, and the architect should be able to let this happen if it serves the client better.Whoever is in charge, there should be clear milestones tied to a calendar, and clear deliverables for each milestone. And someone on the team needs to have a self-deprecating sense of humor that can ease the tension at some meetings — for there will be tension. If no one has a sense of humor, the project is even more doomed than if the client is in charge. 3) In your opinion, what is the best way for the owner to be assured that he/she is getting the best price from you, the builder, particularly in a non-competitive pricing situation?Chandler: Take the time to set a clear scope of work and establish a willingness to communicate and seek collaborative solutions.Kolbert: Again, my JLC article goes into boring detail on my opinions on this matter. The short answer is they can’t, but the notion that competitive bidding provides more assurance is hooey in my opinion. I think the most important thing for a client to feel confident about is: Can the design/build team bring a project in on budget? And that’s a question that can presumably be answered by talking to prior clients.Eldrenkamp: The best way for the owner to be assured that he/she is getting the best price is for him/her to hire six contractors to do the same identical project. After 20 years, he/she should be able to evaluate the up-front costs, the repair and maintenance costs over the 20 years, the warranty follow-up, the resource efficiency, and the overall durability delivered by each of the 6 contractors, and then he/she will know with great certainty which one provided him/her the best price. Subscribe to Green Architects’ Lounge on iTunes—you’ll never miss a show, and it’s free! Usually Phil and I share a “Six Digit Idea” or a “Hot Zigg,” but for this episode we want to give special congratulations to our fellow Mainers at G.O. Logic for their Greenbuild Award.And of course, no episode of the Green Architects’ Lounge would be complete with out a song selection from Phil. this time it’s “Utopia” from Yacht on their album Shangri-La.Thanks for tuning in. Cheers.last_img read more

Why You Need Goals

first_imgI like disciplines, things you do forever because they produce some result that you want that isn’t really a goal. Running a marathon is a goal, but having the energy to live the life you want requires a discipline that doesn’t have a finish line.That said, goals are still critically important to your growth and your success.Goals provide directionThe most important reason you need to set goals is because they provide direction. They cause you to take action that moves you. Look, if you have no goals, you’ll still move, but you’ll be drifting, directionless. You can waste a lot of time drifting.Goals pull you in a direction of your choosing. They bring your intentions to life. Even if you decide later to change your goals and your direction, you’ll have greater momentum because you are already moving.Goals provide a measurementI practiced Aikido for a full year, believing I had made no progress, even though I had only really practiced with black belts throughout that time. When the Sensei brought in a new class, I was forced to work with people who had never been on a mat before that day. It was only then that I recognized my progress.And so it is with goals. It’s not the attainment of goals that is so important; it is the progress. It’s the improvement. It’s the difference from where you were when you started on some path. With a goal, you can look back over the ground you covered and just how far you’ve come.One of the greatest motivators available to you is growth. Goals help you grow, and they provide a measurement.Goals provide feedbackIs what you are doing working? Is it moving you closer to what you want, or is it moving you further away?It is important that you take action, disciplined action, towards the goals you are trying to obtain. But are those disciplined actions working? If what you are doing is moving you away from your goals, then your strategy is not working. That feedback tells you to change something. Maybe what you are doing isn’t going to work. Or maybe you just need to do more of it.Where are you going? How do you intend to get there? How will you need to change and grow to be the person that accomplishes what you are setting out to do?last_img read more

Title hopes end as Philippines falls to Korea anew in Fiba Asia Cup

first_imgSEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Photo from Fiba.comSouth Korea remains the bane of the Philippines in continental basketball.The hot-shooting Koreans broke the Filipinos’ hearts anew with a 118-86 rout in their knockout quarterfinal duel in the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup Wednesday (Thursday Manila time) at Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex in Beirut, Lebanon.ADVERTISEMENT Man sworn in as lawyer by judge who sentenced him to prison as a teen 20 years ago Flags of SEA Games countries raised at Athletes Village LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games SEA Games Gallery: August 16 Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC The loss ended Gilas Pilipinas’ impressive run, where they went undefeated in the group stages despite an undermanned line-up, and relegated the Filipinos to the battle for fifth place.READ: Gilas Pilipinas, Korea resume bitter basketball rivalryFEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutNot only did the Koreans take the Filipinos out of the running for the title, they also assured them of their worst finish since 2011 when Gilas Pilipinas placed fourth.Defense was the biggest issue for the Nationals as they allowed the disciplined Korean crew to shoot 73-percent from the field in the first half to grab a 16-point lead, 49-33. UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:35U.S. urges Japan, South Korea to share intel00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Terrence Romeo waxed hot in the second quarter as he linked up with Jayson Castro to pull Gilas within six, 56-49, but Korea proved it was simply a superior team.READ: Gilas five needs pluckThe Koreans shot a mercurial 16-of-21 clip from beyond the arc and dished out 34 assists, leading by as high as 34, 112-78, courtesy of a long bomb from Yang Hong Seok with 1:57 to play.Romeo uncorked all of his 22 points in that blazing second frame, but was held scoreless in the second half by the tenacious Korean defense.Christian Standhardinger added 17 markers and four boards, Roger Pogoy had 12 points in the Philippines’ late spurt, and Castro William got 11 markers, four assists, and three rebounds as the ghost of the Korea continued to haunt the Filipinos.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding READ: Korea spoils Gilas bidThe country’s last win over its fierce rival was back in the 2013 edition of the Asian tilt, where the Jimmy Alapag-led Gilas Pilipinas advanced to the final.Oh Se Keun topped Korea with 22 points and five rebounds, while Kim Sun Hyung went 9-of-11 from the field to wound up with 21 markers, four assists, and three boards as the Koreans advance to the semifinals.Kim Jong Kyu also chimed in 15 points, four dimes, and, two rebounds.The Scores:KOREA 118 – Oh 22, Kim S H 21, Kim J K 15, Lee S H 14, Lee Ju H 11, Choi 9, Heo 9, Park 9, Yang 5, Jeon 3, Lim 0.GILAS PILIPINAS 86 – Romeo 22, Standhardinger 17, Pogoy 12, Castro William 11, Aguilar 7, Wright 6, Jalalon 5, Abueva 2, Almazan 2, Fajardo 2, Cruz 0, Norwood 0.Quarters: 26-18, 57-49, 86-62, 118-86. LATEST STORIES MOST READ View commentslast_img read more

Hotel reviews

first_imgThe Leela Palace Kempinski, New DelhiThese are exciting times. The luxury hotel segment in Delhi is getting a much needed shake. And as I check into the city’s newest property located in the heart of its stately diplomatic enclave, I am curious.Over a decade back when The Leela Palace removed the covers and threw open it gates to the people of Bangalore, I was there to witness how it changed the city and its skyline forever. Grandeur merged with kitsch, over-the-top blended beautifully with the sophisticated, and business mixed with pleasure in gay abundance under gold leaf domes, ornate ceiling and grand arches.The Leela Palace Kempinski New Delhi, at Chankyapuri, does not disappoint. I enter at midnight to a glittering lobby–opulent would be an understatement. Marble flooring, Murano chandeliers, silver jaali screens, gold leafed ceilings and handpicked artefacts swirl around me in a wondrous mix which is a part royal, part “other world”. RoomsA card key is needed to access the elevators. Isha, my personal butler, escorts me to the junior suite. The 700 sq ft room is a like a ‘One BHK’ apartment. An elaborate walk-in closet, a huge bathroom with spa mood lighting and mirror TV that you can watch as you laze in the sunken bath tub are as exhilarating as the iTouch dock that remote controls the entertainment panel of a HD LCD with Blu-Ray compatibility in the room. The room overlooks the green Africa Avenue and an edge-to-edge glass wall ensures an amazing view. Hand-crafted tapestry, brocades, silverware add the ‘The Leela Palace’ touch.The hotel has 260 rooms including one Maharaja Suite which is 1,520 sq ft, equipped with bullet proof glass, an elevator, private gym, spa and Jacuzzi. And the toiletries are by Bvlgari! Three other suites of over 1,000 sq ft come with private plunge pools. The rest of the rooms are divided into various categories, largely dependent upon the floor area. Fine dining Breakfast is at the all-day dining glasshouse, The Qube. This space is eclectic and contemporary, a slash of different in the otherwise ornate hotel. I dig into an “Egg in a box” gently persuaded by the chef, and must admit it was delicious–a sunny side up egg, just runny, set inside a masala toast! Going by the buzz at the weekend buffet here, I guess The Qube is fast becoming THE place to brunch at, in this city always hungry for something new.General Manager Tamir Kobrin chats me up as I mop up the egg, full of plans and raring to go. Coming up is the opening of Le Cirque on the 10th floor of the hotel with al fresco dining, a wine lounge and a bar. The famous modern French cuisine restaurant from New York City owned and operated by charismatic restaurateur Sirio Maccioni, comes to The Leela Palace Hotel with a menu that will be “a mix of classic Italian with traces of Indian and French favours”. A Japanese restaurant, Megu, and their signature Indian Jamavar round up the fine dining scene.SpaA 6,500 sq ft rambling spa by ESPA is built across two levels. Beautiful handcrafted marble walls add drama to the serene spaces. Treatments draw heavily from Indian traditions and ayurveda while fusing some of the European wellness techniques. A great stress buster tip is to spa, shower and head straight to the very stately Library Bar for a drink. As I did. Surrounded by Chesterfield chairs, leather, wood panelling, leather bound first editions and exclusive whiskeys, cigars and martinis, I sit sipping an excellent Chardonnay, just chilled to a nip till the lights glow around me and the night sets in…JamavarJamavar opens for dinner and is a reservations only fine dining restaurant with the menu straddling the country–from the coasts of Mangalore to the nawabi dastarkhans of Lucknow. My companion and I sit amidst chandeliers, wooden jaalis, silver cutlery and exquisite mirrors and tuck into some simple appams, fish curry, Mirchi Ka Salan and vegetable stew, which is not on the menu but the chef graciously whips up a portion on request. The decorIt is really difficult to comprehend this entire hotel at first go. There is simply too much happening around you… I notice a gigantic sculpture in the lawns, while staring out of The Qube. It reminds me of Angkor Wat. It’s Devi by Satish Gupta, I am informed. A giant brass and gold-plated mural of 1,000 lotuses in various stages of flowering, also by Gupta, decorates the porch attached to the lawns. Rooms boast of lithos, corridors are lined with bidriwork from UP, while the public areas display contemporary Indian artists like Satish Gujral, Paresh Maity and Laxman Gouda.Yes I am still trying to figure it all out. Some of it is gorgeous, some simply overwhelming, but most of it is dazzling, to say the least.-Ritu Agarwal RohatgiadvertisementadvertisementAt a glanceWhat: A new luxury hotelWhere: Chanakyapuri, Diplomatic Enclave Tel: (011) 3933 1234; www.theleela.comCost: Rs. 25,000 onwards per night for Grand Deluxe RoomsVerdict: Opulent!Sheraton Bangalore HotelSheraton’s new hotel at Brigade Gateway is a part of an interesting concept. It is one of the many elements of an urban ecosystem–which means it is flanked by a number of urban centres so that you don’t need to go very far for anything. Next to the hotel is the World Trade Centre, an office complex that’s set to be the tallest building in Bangalore. Nearby is the Orion Mall, among the largest in the city. There is also a hospital, residential apartment complex and a school around. RestaurantsAs I walked into the hotel’s spacious lobby, its classy interiors and uncluttered look intrigued me. I was famished, so before going up to the room I started with a big breakfast at Feast, the all-day-dining restaurant. There were separate show kitchens for continental, Asian and north and south Indian cuisines. I tucked into hot omelettes and dosas. After a couple of hours reading in my room, done up in earthy tones and overlooking the infinity pool, hunger pangs struck again and I went to Bene, the Italian restaurant. Here, Executive Chef Gustavo Maurelli told me that the idea is to serve authentic Italian cuisine and not ”Indianised” Italian cuisine. He served me risotto and ravioli that was creamier and thicker than most Italian cuisine I’ve had in India. I spent the evening at Durbar, the opulent bar offering a range of cocktails and wine. RoomsAfter negotiating the multitude of temptations at dinner at Feast, it was time to try, what Nithya, the marketing communications manager had said, was one of the best parts of the hotel’s experience–its bed. She rattled off the name, but at that point it didn’t seem to matter as I settled into the smooth, soft, spongy white bed, and was immediately cocooned in a pod of comfort. Later I found out I had spent the night on the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper(SM) Bed with nine layers.The deep sleep had to be the best part of the stay, even if it was so comfortable that I ended up skipping the gym session I’d promised myself in the morning. Yet, the cosy bed, and another full breakfast at Feast set up a great day ahead as I checked out later that morning.-Shamanth Rao At a glanceWhat: A new luxury hotelWhere: Dr. Rajkumar Road, Malleswaram-RajajinagarTel: (080) 4252 1000; Cost: Rs. 6,500 per night for Premier Deluxe Room Verdict: A smart business hotel with a good locationNoor Mahal, KarnalAll right, come up with it. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Karnal? Rice fields? Dairy products? Liberty shoes or simply a town you pass enroute Chandigarh?How about a five-star hotel? Doesn’t seem to fit, does it? Digest the idea, for Karnal is now home to a sprawling heritage hotel, Noor Mahal. And it is exactly how it sounds–royal and glamorous.What strikes me is the hotel’s unlikely location and impressive facade. Standing amidst lush, green rice fields, this huge property resembles a Rajasthani haveli.Once I step into the lobby, it is difficult to remember that I am in Karnal. The delicate inlay work in the marble floor, the eye-catching hand-painted mural on the wall and sprawling verandahs are reminiscent of a maharaja’s palace.Rooms and SpaI am taken to my Club Royal room. But unlike the lobby, there is nothing royal about it, the dcor is modern. I quickly draw the curtains, hoping to catch a glimpse of the rice fields we had passed. Instead, all I see is verandahs and a central courtyard. Sigh, such is life. Disappointed, I get down to some reading, and then head to spa–7th Heaven, a tie-up with Sohum Spa from Mumbai. It’s a small spa with just three treatment rooms, but an exhaustive menu. I opt for the Sohum Signature Massage–a mix of Thai, acupressure, sports and a deep tissue massage. It’s exactly as hard as it sounds, and after 90 minutes I’m not just rejuvenated, but also famished.DiningI head to the Indian restaurant, The Frontier Mail, named after the train that ran between Mumbai and Peshawar before 1947. The restaurant has tables set inside a train compartment for those who enjoy the thought of dining in a train. The cuisine offered is from regions through which the train used to ply. I ponder over the menu and choose Mahi Soley–fish marinated in spices, which is so soft and tender that I have difficulty lifting it with my fork, and Murgh Lahori, a speciality from Lahore, which was not as spicy as I expected. The other eatery at the hotel is the 24-hour coffee shop, The Brown Sugar, where I have a leisurely breakfast the next morning. That evening I while away time sipping perfectly chilled champagne at The Polo Bar, where waiters are dressed in polo uniforms.The dining options may be limited, but the banquet facilities are not. The hotel has seven banquet halls, which can be combined to accommodate as many as 5,000 people. For some it may be the perfect venue to hold their dream wedding, but for me Noor Mahal is an ideal weekend getaway. -Pallavi PasrichaadvertisementAt a glanceWhat: A new heritage hotelWhere: National Highway 1, Sector 32 Tel: (0184) 306 6666; www.noormahal.inCost: Rs. 4,500 onwards per night for the Club Room Verdict: A good weekend and MICE option for Delhi and Chandigarh.Swissotel IstanbulGetting off my two-hour private Bosphorus cruise (rather reluctantly) at Besiktas, I saw the name Swissotel The Bosphorus looming. Perched on a hill was the colourful signage in a playful font. It’s a detail not many hotels pay attention to, the signage. Of course, a signage is not going to make you pick a hotel but it definitely made me turn and take notice. Celebrating 20 years this year, Swissotel is still a name to reckon with in Istanbul.RoomThe plan was to drop off my bags and charge out to explore the city. One step into the last room of the corridor and all of that changed. A large bay window showcases what becomes the centrepiece of the room. On one side you can see the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia, on the other Dolmabahce Palace is almost within touching distance. And in front is the blue, blue Bosphorus. The rich and famous cut across in their yachts along side the local people who cross over to the Asia side, to return home after a day’s work. White boats float across the blue strait, painting a picture few masters can match. Everything else in the Bosphorus Corner Room becomes secondary in front of this grand show of nature, though I find no complaints except the television, which is kept right in front of the window, marring the perfection. I enquire about this obvious error and am told of technical details that can’t be helped. Technology will be the end of us one day, I sigh, as I try to pretend the television does not exist and munch on the chocolate and cherries kept in the room. DiningGaja Roof, the rooftop version of the Gaja restaurant (winter only), opens in the summer. A lot of the dining options at Swissotel are seasonal. (Check the website for which restaurants are open at the time of your visit.) Twenty years on, this is still the hotel with the most dining options. Where most big hotels in the city have not more than two, I counted at least six while walking around. Gaja Roof is one of those classy places with low lights and cool breeze and soft ambient music, where evening dresses in high heels come on the arms of designer suits; where glasses clink poshly as the evening stretches into the night. The seafood is highly recommended here–get the catch of the day. The sea bass I try is flaky and delicately flavoured and my fruity margaritas go perfectly with the main course. Twinkling lights across Istanbul, with the Asia side in the front and the old city on your right… The setting is most romantic. If you want to extend your evening, Gaja Sky, the lounge bar, is officially open till 5 a.m.!SpaNext day at the hotel started with the fabulous view and an hour at the Amrita spa. The lady with the wide smile at the reception suggested I go for Intensive Muscle Release massage. I agreed–the name itself sounded healing. The therapist was from Bali and I was happy to be in good hands. Europeans are great people but they don’t make the best masseuses in my experience. A satisfying massage later, I lunched at Cafe Swiss where the buffet spread surprised me with its taste and freshness. The Grilled Beef Steak and Lamb With Aubergine were superb, as was the Chocolate Baklava. Good, glitch-free experiences such as the one I had at Swissotel add so much to your holiday.-Kalyani Prasher At a glanceWhat: A luxury hotelWhere: Bayildim Caddesi No 2, Macka, Besiktas Tel: +90 212 326 1100; www.swissotel.comCost: Euro 220 for Bosphorus View, the site will have best rates.Verdict: Fantastic location and restaurants.last_img read more

We have a good chance of an Olympic medal: V. Diju

first_imgIndia’s badminton doubles specialist Valiyaveetil Diju, who will be playing mixed doubles with Jwala Gutta in the London Olympics, believes they have a good chance of winning a medal.”We have good chance from this Olympics. Only 16 teams are participating and if we win two matches we will go to the semifinals,” Diju told IANS.”This time we are playing group matches and not knock-out. We have good chances in the group. Even if we lose one match, we will again have a chance,” said the 31-year-old who trained under Indonesian coach Edwin Iriawan at Gopi Chand Badminton Academy.Diju seems satisfied with his preparations with partner Jwala under the Indonesian.”It is the biggest tournament for everyone. We are really focussed on it and are looking for a medal,” said the former national badminton champion. Their pair is currently ranked 14th in the world.According to him, shuttlers from China and Denmark will pose main threats. However, they have no special strategy to take on them.”We played them before. There is no strategy. We know each other’s game,” added Diju, who along with Jwala became first Indians to enter quarterfinals of World Badminton Championships, held at Hyderabad in 2009.The same year, Diju-Jwala became the first Indian mixed doubles pair to win a Grand Prix when they bagged Chinese Taipei title.”Jwala is playing good and is moving very well in court,” Diju said about his partner.Wembley Arena, the venue of the badminton matches at Olympics, is not new to the pair, having played there during World Championship last year.advertisement”We have played on those courts. They are neither going to be fast nor slow and the temperature will be around 18 degrees,” he said.last_img read more

CWG 2014: Parupalli Kashyap awarded Rs 25 lakh by BAI

first_imgParupalli KashyapThe Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Sunday announced cash rewards for Indian medal winners — Parupalli Kashyap, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa, P.V. Sindhu and R.M.V. Gurusaidutt — at the Commonwealth Games.Men’s singles gold medalist Kashyap will be getting a reward of Rs.25 lakh while women’s doubles silver medalists Jwala and Ashwini will be awarded Rs.10 lakh each. Singles bronze medalists Sindhu (women’s) and Gurusaidutt (men’s) will get Rs.5 lakh each.Kashyap ended India’s 32-year wait for a men’s singles title defeating Singapore’s Zi Liang Derek Wong 21-14, 11-21, 21-19 in Glasgow. By doing this, the 27-year-old emulated former champions Prakash Padukone (1978) and Syed Modi (1982) to clinch his first major championship.Jwala and Ashwini, however, lost the women’s doubles final 17-21, 21-23 to Malaysians Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Khe Wei Woon to settle for the silver. Earlier, Gurusaidutt and Sindhu’s had won their respective bronze medal playoffs on Saturday.”While Kashyap would be honoured with a cash prize of Rs.25 lakh, Jwala and Ashwini will receive Rs.10 lakh each, Sindhu and Gurusaidutt (Rs.5 lakh) and Kidambi Srikanth and P.C. Tulasi (Rs.1 lakh),” BAI president Akhilesh Das Gupta said in a statement.Das Gupta also thanked chief national coach Pullela Gopi Chand, coach Madhumita Bisht, other support staff, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Sports Ministry for all the support and added that they were now focused on winning medals in next month’s Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.”The Indian team would be further strengthened by the return of Saina Nehwal and I am confident that we will bring back medals from Incheon as well,” Das Gupta added.advertisementlast_img read more

Frank Lampard haunts Chelsea, steals 1-1 draw for Manchester City

first_imgFrank Lampard scored the equalizer for Manchester City against his former club ChelseaFrank Lampard scored a late equalizer against his former club Chelsea to earn 10-man Manchester City a 1-1 draw in the Premier League on Sunday and end the leaders’ winning start to the season.Lampard, who was released by Chelsea this summer after scoring a club-record 211 goals in 13 years, held his arm out and refused to celebrate after his side-footed shot deflected in off John Terry in the 85th minute.City right back Pablo Zabaleta was sent off in the 66th after picking up a second booking, and Chelsea capitalized by opening the scoring five minutes later when substitute Andre Schuerrle tapped in Eden Hazard’s low cross.Chelsea dropped points for the first time in five games but still holds a three-point lead over Southampton and is five clear of City – arguably its biggest rival for the title.It was a typical late surge into the box by Lampard, who had only come on as a substitute seven minutes earlier as City fought back after going a man and a goal down. He looked emotional as he walked off, head down, after the ball hit the net and didn’t want to celebrate with his joyous teammates.”I’m a bit lost for words – I didn’t expect to score like that,” Lampard said. “I’m a bit stuck in the middle.”Chelsea fans had been singing Lampard’s name throughout the match, hailing one of the club’s greatest servants who was allowed to join New York City in the summer. Lampard is spending the first half of the season on loan at City, the parent club of New York City.advertisementAndre Schurrle scores the opening goal for Chelsea against Man CityCity is now winless in four games in all competitions but came back well after losing Zabaleta, who lunged at Diego Costa near the halfway line and became entangled with the Spain striker.Chelsea did the double over City last season, with its win at Etihad Stadium in February widely hailed as a tactical clinic from Jose Mourinho. And the Portuguese coach was happy to ditch the flamboyance that had helped his team claim four straight win for what will probably be its toughest match of the campaign.It made for a tense, edgy and physical battle that was dominated by defenses, with Eliaquim Mangala enjoying a strong starting debut for City after his big-money summer move from Porto.Neither goalkeeper was seriously tested in the first half and Costa, who had scored seven goals so far and at least one in every match, was a peripheral figure.City started the second half well, with Sergio Aguero forcing a save out of Thibaut Courtois and Edin Dzeko denied on the rebound by a lunging tackle from Ramires.But the game turned on Zabaleta’s sending off and within five minutes Costa led a counterattack by Chelsea and Hazard crossed for Schuerrle to tap in at the far post.Lampard had the last say, though.last_img read more

Wayde Van Niekerk double bid could steal some of Usain Bolt’s thunder

first_imgUsain Bolt’s farewell will be the major narrative at the world championships but South African speedster Wayde van Niekerk’s bid for the 200 and 400m double could steal some of his spotlight.The Jamaican great has dubbed the 25-year-old Van Niekerk as the sport’s next superstar and that is likely to be reinforced at the global showpiece event in London which starts on Friday.But a showdown between the pair, who are good friends and trained together in Jamaica this year, will not happen with Bolt running only the 100m and relay to mark the end of his glittering career.”One person I know who will step up, and he’s been doing good work, is Van Niekerk. He’s shown that he really wants to take my place. He’s been dominating in all events – I feel like if he runs the 800, he’d probably do well also,” Bolt said before the Diamond League meeting in Monaco last week in which Van Niekerk won the 400m with the best time of the year.Cape Town-born Van Niekerk is the reigning world champion and he broke Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old world record to win Olympic Gold in Rio de Janeiro last year.All this in a race he dislikes.”I think most everyone knows that the 400m is not my favourite distance. I know it’s a bit crazy. I enjoy the shorter distances,” he said.”I try to tell myself that I need to be more positive about the 400m, it is the race that has placed me at the top.”advertisementThis time Van Niekerk attempts the 200-400m double that marked out Johnson as the star of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics after the ruling body of world athletics changed the London programme to make it possible.In June, he ran personal bests in both the 100m (9.94 seconds) and 200m (19.84) and a world record 30.81 in the rarely run 300m. Van Niekerk is the only sprinter in history to have run the 100m in under 10 seconds, the 200m in under 20 and the 400m in sub 44.”I’m in great shape. My record of 300m has given me confidence, so I look forward to see how it translates into the other two events,” Van Niekerk added.His coach Ans Botha, a 75-year-old grandmother, says they have been training for both events since last year’s Olympics.”It is the 400m that put him on the stage and which has made him strong mentally, but Wayde doesn’t like it,” she said.”After Rio, he told me he needed new challenges and that he wanted to double at the World Championships. I’ve had to adapt my program because I’m there to share his dreams.”last_img read more

Kidambi Srikanth credits Pullela Gopichand for Indian badminton’s recent success

first_imgKidambi Srikanth, who clinched back to back titles, has credited his success to current national coach Pullela Gopichand, saying the latter has been behind all the success of badminton in India.Srikanth, who gave in the best performances of his career, won Indonesian Open Series and Australian Open Series within a week’s time and made the entire nation proud.The Indian shuttler defeated reigning Olympic champion Chen Long 22-20, 21-16 in the final of the Australia Open Super Series to win his second title in two weeks.WATCH VIDEO HEREHe had earlier won the Indonesia Open Super Series title on June 18.”I think he is the man behind all the success of badminton today here what we have. If he wouldn’t have become a coach after he quit his playing career, all this wouldn’t have been possible. So whatever we have today and whatever we will have in the next generations, it will be all because of him,” said Srikanth on Tuesday while addressing the media here.”He was the one who really started coaching seriously in India, who always thought India has the potential to be a world beater in badminton.His role would be very important in the coming years as well.””Thanks to Gopi sir, it was not possible to make it without him, I couldn’t have been where I am now,” he added.Srikanth has been in sensational form and has also improved his ranking. He jumped 11 places to reach the 11th spot after Indonesia Open Super Series victory. He, however, has achieved a career high ranking of number three.advertisementIn 2014, he won his biggest title as he defeated home favourite Lin Dan to win his maiden Super Series title at the China Open. But after that Srikanth took two years to win the premier tournaments in men’s badminton.His dream run, however, began in April this year as he reached the final of the Singapore Open.Srikanth, who was awarded Rs. three lakh by Gopichand Badminton Academy on the occasion, further asserted that the last two months have been fantastic for him.”It has been fantastic for me in the last two months. After the injuries, I really didn’t want to push myself too much and just wanted to train first, get better and start tournaments. And it really happened with the help of new coach and Gopi Sir,” he said.The badminton ace, who will be playing next in World Championships scheduled in August, said he would try to train hard and perform his best there.”It’s good to be back in top ten for sure. But I didn’t play these tournaments just to come back in top 10 but to win them and even in World Championship’s I will look to perform well and win. That’s the only thing that I am thinking about and not the rankings,” he said.When asked about the biggest challenge in the last three weeks, Srikanth said, “Every match was tuff for me.””I think we are actually training very well now. In the last couple of months, I have been playing really well and up to my potential. I really want to continue training hard in the coming months because that’s the only way to be consistent.””I think every win was important for me. I don’t really want to compare those wins and I will definitely say that this is one of my biggest win,” he added.With his latest wins, the 24-year-old is now the second most successful Indian badminton player in Super Series with four titles after ace women shuttler Saina Nehwal (10) and two ahead of Olympic medalist PV Sindhu (2). He is also number six on the list of men’s super-series titles winners.last_img read more

Russia’s 2018 World Cup Challenged

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares LONDON — Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister wants Russia stripped of the right to host the 2018 World Cup to punish President Vladimir Putin for “belligerent behavior” in the Ukraine crisis.While calling for tougher sanctions against Russia, Nick Clegg told The Sunday Times newspaper that it is “unthinkable” for Putin to have the opportunity to exploit football’s biggest sporting event to enhance his own status.Clegg’s intervention comes after some lawmakers in Germany called for the World Cup to be moved because of Russia’s alleged involvement in shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.“After this terrible, terrible downing of that jet, it is essential that the European Union gets tough on Vladimir Putin,” Clegg was quoted as saying. “We’ve got to take tougher sanctions, but also we’ve got to make it quite clear that he cannot expect to get the privileges of being at the top table of world affairs if he’s not prepared to play by the basic rules of world affairs.“If he carries on with this belligerent behavior … it’s unthinkable that he should have the privilege of hosting the World Cup in 2018. You can’t have the beautiful game marred by the ugly aggression of Russia on the Russian-Ukrainian border.”Clegg, who leads Britain’s Liberal Democrats, said the Russian President had already “milked” the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February, and that hosting the World Cup would be “an enormous advantage to Putin personally.”“There’s no question he sees it for himself and for his prestige as a huge gain,” Clegg said. “The idea that the world should accord Russia that prestige is beyond belief. I don’t know how many people have got to be shot out of the skies before people say enough is enough.”Moscow has continually denied involvement in the downing of the plane.FIFA is standing by Russia as the next World Cup hosts, saying that keeping the tournament “can achieve positive change” in the country. FIFA President Sepp Blatter had already rejected calls to strip Russia of the tournament after it annexed the Crimea earlier this year.last_img read more

Video: BYU Ran One Of The Worst Plays In College Football History Last Night

first_imgBYU's punter preparing for a fake punt.BYU ran what might be the worst play in college football history on Thursday night.There are some video game players who, when playing Madden for example, go for it on fourth down, regardless of where they’re positioned on the field or how many yards they need to earn a first down. BYU basically did that on Thursday night against Boise State.Trailing Boise State 14-10, BYU punter Jonny Linehan, from his team’s own 5-yard-line, ran a fake on 4th-and-19. He was tackled after a loss of three at his own team’s 2-yard-line. It has to be one of the worst play calls we’ve ever seen.Somehow, Boise State didn’t score on its ensuing possession because of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a missed field goal. But that doesn’t make BYU’s decision any better.last_img

Kelloggs to close London plant in the new year lay off 500

LONDON, Ont. — The Kellogg’s plant in London, Ont., will close by the end of 2014, resulting in the loss of more than 500 full-time jobs.The employees were told the news Tuesday during a staff meeting.[np_storybar title=”How Ontario’s government is driving away jobs” link=””%5DTerence Corcoran: Slowly but surely, Ontario’s central planning public policies — from green energy to Blue Boxes — are driving business out of the province. Find out how [/np_storybar]“As with any project of this scope and one that impacts people, these are difficult decisions,” John Bryant, president and chief executive of Kellogg Company said in a statement.“We are very mindful of the impact these changes will have — particularly to our employees. As our employees and others would expect from Kellogg, we will help those who are impacted through their transitions.”Just last month, the company announced that it was laying off 110 workers by January 2014.Kellogg’s has been in London since 1924.The cuts are part of an overall restructuring by Kellogg’s to streamline their operations by 2018.Almost all traditional cereal makers are facing a declines in sales, as more Canadians choose breakfast meals such as shakes and cereal bars over pouring a bowl of cereal. As a result, the London plant has produced less of their 27 different varieties of cereal every year.“Cereal sales have declined and we have significant excess capacity in our cereal manufacturing network,” said Kellogg’s company spokeswoman, Kris Charles. “As a result, we have a compelling business need to align our global manufacturing capacity with customer demand, as well as reduce our costs, in order to be competitive and sustainable in the future.”THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley The company said it will also close its snacks plant in Charmhaven, Australia by late 2014. Efforts will then be diverted to expanding its cereal and snacks plant in Rayong, Thailand by 2015.London-Fanshawe MP Irene Mathyssen called the closure “simply heartbreaking news and another devastating blow to London.”“We already have thousands of Londoners desperate for work and the situation isn’t a whole lot better in other communities,” she said in a statement Tuesday. “This will only add to the hopelessness many families are feeling about the chance to get back to work and get back on their feet.”The city’s manufacturing industry has already taken big hits over the years, with plant closures including Electro-Motive and Ford Talbotville, she added. Citing government data, Ms. Mathyssen said since November 2006 there have been 11,300 fewer manufacturing jobs in London.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley London Mayor Joe Fontana said he would have liked to have the opportunity to sit down with Kellogg’s, along with other levels of government, to explore other solutions and avoid the closure.But Kellogg’s board of directors made the decision to close the plant three days ago, he said, and his council only learned of the closure today.The timing of the announcement was “very bad,” Mr. Fontana said.“Just before Christmas? Come on. At the end of the day, let’s have a little bit of heart here,” he said. “Obviously, they made a decision three days ago, but I think there would have been a better way, a constructive way.”But with the string of manufacturing plant closures in Ontario, most recently the Heinz plant in Leamington, Ont., it is a clear “wakeup call” for provincial and federal governments to “do things differently.”“There’s no doubt that there needs to be a game change for federal, provincial, municipal governments to work with businesses to see how it is that we can make sure that these kinds of jobs and businesses are not lost,” Mr. Fontana said.Last month, food producer Heinz announced it was closing its tomato plant in Leamington, Ont., eliminating 740 full-time jobs.The shutdown will be phased over the next six to eight months and also affect up to 500 seasonal workers hired each year during the tomato-harvesting season.The Ontario government said the province will provide up to $200,000 to help the southwestern Ontario city identify and pursue new opportunities for growth.With files from Armina Ligaya, Financial Post read more

Heavy rains hamper UN tsunami relief in temporary camps in Indonesia

The world body, which is coordinating the massive global response to the disaster which left at least 165,000 people dead, more than half a million more injured and up to 5 million others in need of basic services and at risk of deadly epidemics in a dozen Indian Ocean countries, said many of the health care facilities north of Meulaboh, a particularly hard-hit area, were not functioning.Because of intensified concern over sanitation conditions for displaced persons in the area, soap and hygiene kits are now being distributed along with food, while four water-processing units have arrived in Meulaboh, in Aceh province, to provide clean water to hospitals and settlements.Meanwhile, mental health experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) fear that psychological trauma among the tsunami victims is more widespread than initially believed and the agency has begun to coordinate the appropriate training of community workers.The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) has launched a finance facility to accumulate funds for long-term reconstruction efforts in the affected countries.For its part the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is distributing some 5,000 prayer shawls to Acehnese women affected by the tsunami for tomorrow’s Muslim holy day of Eid Al-Adha.The UN Development Programme (UNDP) had scaled up its plans to hire locals in Aceh to remove debris while creating employment opportunities for up to 3,000 people, from an initial 300, over the next six months. The agency has also provided 17 units of heavy equipment and 60 crew members to clear debris and bodies from the worst-hit areas.Since the tsunami struck in Indonesia on 26 December, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has delivered over 4,000 tons of food to 330,000 people in Banda Aceh, the provincial capital. It has also provided eight tons of medical supplies while the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has distributed information on the disease in emergency settings and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has delivered over 600 reproductive health kits. read more

Viacom posts 16 pct increase in fiscal 1stqtr net income on lower

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Viacom is reporting a 16 per cent jump in net income for the first quarter thanks in part to smaller losses at its film division.The New York company, which owns Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures, earned $547 million, or $1.20 per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31. That compared with $470 million, or 92 cents per share, in the same quarter the year before.Revenue fell 4 per cent to $3.2 billion.Analysts polled by FactSet expected a profit of $1.16 per share on $3.3 billion in revenue.Revenue from media networks increased 6 per cent to $2.54 billion, while filmed entertainment revenue dropped 30 per cent to $681 million.But losses related to filmed entertainment shrunk as a result of lower movie-related expenses. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Viacom posts 16 pct increase in fiscal 1st-qtr net income on lower film-related losses by The Associated Press Posted Jan 30, 2014 5:43 am MDT read more

Boom in Artificial Intelligence patents points to quantum leap in tech UN

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Technology Trends report, 50 per cent of all patents for AI – the replication of human intelligence by machines for use in industries such as transport and healthcare, for instance – have been published since 2013, adding up to more than 170,000 different patented ideas.This followed on from an initial boom in AI scientific publications, which began in 2001.WIPO Director General Francis Gurry told journalists in Geneva the surge in patenting was “striking”, noting that AI research began in the 1950s. “But there has been a quantum leap since about 2013, so we’re dealing with what is happening right now in a very fast-moving field,” he insisted.‘Machine learning’ is the dominant AI applicationBy number, patent applications for machine learning, indicate that this is currently the dominant application of AI; think of apps that include ride-sharing services to minimize detours. The fastest-growing AI area is “deep learning”, however, which is used in speech recognition.This saw a 175-per cent annual increase in patent applications from 2013 to 2016, far in excess of the 33 per cent average for all patents in the same period.US and China dominate so farThe United States and China dominate the field of patent application, although only a fraction of China’s patents is filed abroad. US-based tech giant IBM leads by number of patent applications (8,290), followed by Microsoft (5,930).Japan’s Toshiba has the next highest patent tally (5,223), ahead of South Korea’s Samsung (5,102) and Japan’s NEC Group (4,406).China’s increasingly important role in the sector is also illustrated by the fact that Chinese organizations make up 17 of the top 20 academic players in AI patenting, as well as 10 of the top 20 in AI-related scientific publications.‘Major’ military, economic uses for AI In coming years, AI is set to grow with “major military and economic” uses, Mr Gurry suggested, before highlighting the importance of proposed WIPO-led discussions between Member States, on legal and ethical issues relating to intellectual property rights that have been raised by the technology.“One would expect that the strategic focus of major geopolitical players will turn to their positioning in relation to AI,” he said.Internet search giants have also been key to the AI revolution, the WIPO report shows, with Google (US) and Baidu (China) embracing the potential of the technology early on, just as Microsoft and Apple did before them.“You did say that we see some of the internet giants there,” Mr Gurry said to reporters. “Why? Because of data…because of the access they have to data.”In addition to the US and China’s large populations, the WIPO head noted the importance of State-led support for innovation in both places, which included investing in technology hubs and even training specialized patent officers.Biggest AI opportunities lie outside software industryFaced with this backing, “it’s very difficult for other countries, even those with great education, to compete with the business, engineering and investing talent” of China and the US, AI expert and CEO of Landing AI and, Andrew Ng, notes in the WIPO publication, adding that the “biggest untapped opportunities” lie outside the software industry, in areas including agriculture, healthcare and manufacturing.European diversity ‘an obstacle to machine learning’Echoing those comments, the WIPO Director General noted that the cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe “is not necessarily favouring the formation of major data pools. And we all know the more data, the better for machine learning for example, the results, you are going to get”.Asked whether the world was better off because of the technology, which industry experts credit with the potential to create massive economic value, the WIPO Director General underlined the fact that the science behind it is “neutral”.“Is it (AI) good news or bad news?” he asked. “Well, I would tend to say that all technology is somewhat neutral, and it depends on what you do with it. So, insofar as you may use AI science and techniques for developing autonomous weapons systems that are going to kill us all, is not very good news, but insofar as it’s being used to improve health indicators for diagnostics, for other purposes, it’s great news.” read more

Tickets available for Opening of Term Celebration

The menu includes the choice of grilled chicken breast with roasted peach, BBQ beef brisket, or black bean and corn taco with chipotle avocado cream. Jubilee CourtyardA special guest will be on hand for Brock University’s Opening of Term Celebration Thursday, Aug. 27.Shirley Cheechoo will be making her first visit to the campus since it was announced in July she had accepted the invitation to become Brock’s next Chancellor.The annual Opening of Term Celebration kicks off the fall term each year and is hosted by President Jack Lightstone and his wife, Dorothy Markiewicz. It will be held in Jubilee Courtyard (or Market Hall if it rains) from noon to 1:30 p.m.Tickets have been subsidized by the President’s office and are $5 each, but must be purchased in advance either at the Welcome Desk or at the Brock Card Office. Tickets are available until the end of day Wednesday. The Thursday Brock Farmer’s Market runs every Thursday until Sept. 17 from noon to 1:30 p.m. read more

Ryanair has joined Twitterbut dont bother with queries

first_imgSO, RYANAIR HAS joined Twitter. The airline has never quite been renowned for its customer service and, although it’s early days, the @Ryanair account doesn’t seem to be in the mood for changing that anytime soon.For its first tweet Ryanair managed to poke a little fun at itself, letting us know that there will be no hidden charges for followers: (There is no word yet if Michael O’Leary will be tweeting from the account. Pic: Virginia Mayo/AP)Any hopes that Ryanair had perhaps gone a little soft may have been vanquished by the next tweet from however which hinted that they will not be taking any customers queries, directing users toward the online contact form:A couple of hours after being set up the account has yet to follow anybody either so it remains to be seen how interactive @Ryanair will be.Ryanair may be the biggest airline by passenger numbers in Europe but they have much catching up to do on twitter with competitors such as @AerLingus and @British_Airways having well maintained interactive accounts.Read: Pope joins Twitter at @pontifex – but won’t tweet until next week >Read: Pat Kenny has joined Twitter (kind of) >last_img read more

Tablet gaming is about to go hardcore

first_imgGaming console manufacturers are nervous about tablets. While there is still a measurable gap between tablet gaming and console gaming, it’s shrinking. Though Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, a couple of bits of news coming out of CES 2012 could give them cause for concern.First, Razer’s upcoming gaming tablet takes the guts of a gaming PC and puts them into a tablet — complete with dual “nunchuk” controllers. In what may be even bigger news, though, Imagination Technologies has announced that its latest PowerVR Series 6 design could make the graphics in the next iPad 20x more powerful than current-generation GPUs.Project FionaThe Razer tablet is dubbed Project Fiona, and is still only in the prototype phase. However, its potential is enough to make you start setting aside some cash. The Windows 8-running tablet will be powered by an Intel Core i7 (Ivy Bridge) processor, to guarantee that it’s no slouch in the speed department.Though its performance is enough to grab your attention, Project Fiona’s biggest strength may be its control scheme. This is obviously a tablet designed for the hardcore gamer. It totes dual nunchuck controllers (similar to those designed for the Wii and Playstation Move), which are attached to both sides of the tablet. This solves two problems: a) it bypasses the annoyance of gaming on a touchscreen, and b) it does so while still retaining the handheld feel of tablets.Another big perk for Project Fiona is its software compatibility. If an Android tablet manufacturer had made this, it wouldn’t mean much. Developers would have to tailor their games to work with the peripherals (ask Sony Ericsson how well that has worked). But since the tablet runs Windows 8, most PC games will work out-of-the-box. Devs can still optimize their games to work with the device’s touchscreen, but even if they ignore the device altogether, their games should still work.The Razer tablet is expected to launch sometime later this year. No official price has been listed, but it will supposedly ring up for less than $1000.PowerVR Series 6Meanwhile, Imagination Technology’s introduction of its PowerVR Series 6 core GPUs could have enormous ramifications for tablet gaming. The units promise performance that exceeds 100 gigaFLOPS, and that reaches the TeraFLOPS range. This adds up to performance that can be 20x more powerful than present-day mobile GPUs — with architecture that’s 5x more efficient.What does this have to do with Apple? The company has used the PowerVR architecture in its iPhones and iPads, and will likely continue to do so in future devices. Imagination released the names of several manufacturers who will be using the Series 6 (including Sony Ericsson and Texas Instruments), but Apple tends to force partners to sign NDAs. In other words, Apple could already be placing the Series 6 units in the iPad 3 and Imagination would have to keep quiet about it.Tablets as the new consoles?These two announcements signify a bright future for tablet gaming. The last year has been promising — yet frustrating — to watch. iOS and Android titles like GTA III, Infinity Blade, and several Gameloft console clones have shown promise for the capabilities of tablets. But those same titles also reveal limits. GTA III is impressive for a mobile game, but this is a ten-year-old console game (its performance is nowhere near that of GTA IV, much less Red Dead Redemption or L.A. Noire). Infinity Blade and its sequel are impressive feats, but they utilize the old Punch-Out trick of using limited gameplay environments and reskinned characters to offer improved graphics; expand the game and it couldn’t possibly handle those same visuals. Gameloft’s titles come with varying degrees of quality, but none offer anything original (a familiar refrain is “which console franchise is Gameloft ripping off this time?”).The next year or two, however, may offer the breakthrough that we have been waiting for. The latest PowerVR GPUs can open the door to tablets that outperform current-gen consoles. Razer’s tablet, while it probably won’t have the following of the iPad, skips the need for upgraded mobile gaming and jumps straight into the far superior Windows library. While the company didn’t specifically mention these titles, it should be able to run Skyrim, Batman: Arkham City, and Star Wars: The Old Republic out-of-the-box.2010 was the year that Apple introduced the world to tablets. 2011 was the year that the market became saturated with (mostly struggling) competitors. 2012, however, may be the year that traditional gaming consoles begin to get replaced by tablets. While the gaming systems of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo will be around for a while, they may want to start investing in that future, or risk falling behind.More at Imagination Technologies and Razerlast_img read more

Super Mario 64 hack adds multiplayer

first_imgIf you owned a Nintendo 64 back in the mid ’90s there was one game you had to have and probably played through repeatedly. That game was Super Mario 64. To this day it remains my all time favorite Mario game.Super Mario 64 was a purely single-player experience, but more than 16 years after its release someone has managed to add a two-player option to the game. That someone goes by the name of Skelux, and he’s an experienced hacker of a number of Mario games.The multiplayer option turns Super Mario 64 into a two-player co-op game. But in order to play it you are going to require an N64 emulator and a copy of the game. This isn’t something you’ll ever see running on the actual N64 hardware.As the video above demonstrates, co-op works surprisingly well with the camera panning back and responding as intended to keep the two players in view at all times. According to Skelux it works because Nintendo had originally planned to include co-op as an option in the game, but ended up shipping the cartridges without it. This hack unlocks the entirety of the game as a co-op experience.If co-op Super Mario 64 doesn’t sound like a great idea you may want to check out Skelux’s other project called Super Mario Star Road. It’s a full game modification that adds 120 stars, over 30 new areas to explore, and a number of new objects for Mario to interact with. You can see it in action in the video below:More at Super Mario Star Road, via Mashablelast_img read more